The Zebra Storyteller

Collected Stories

By Spencer Holst; Beate Wheeler (Illustrator); Norman Saito (Photographer)
(Station Hill Press, Paperback, 9780882681245, 295pp.)

Publication Date: January 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Fiction. "Holst has long been treasured in the underground New York literary scene. His impish delivery is filled with a childlike delight in tale-spinning, and yet his work is recognized for its inscrutable mysteries. Containing every story Holst has ever written, nearly a third of them never before published, this collection should establish Holst's reputation among a wider public. If there is a single aesthetic preoccupation in these tales, it is with storytelling itself. In the title piece, a Siamese cat speaks Zebraic,' bewitching zebras so that he is able to kill them, until he meets the zebra storyteller who has already imagined a Siamese cat speaking Zebraic. This allows him to kill the cat, and that is the function of the storyteller,' Holst concludes. Such postmodern concerns, however, do not become boorish. Above all, Holst seeks to entertain, not lecture; imagination and language receive no especial privilege here, but humor always does. In The Language of Cats,' at the end of one rather long and unsuccessful attempt to describe a confused state of mind, the narrator resorts to: imagine how the world would appear to a person after finishing such a ridiculously lengthy, pointless sentence.' Such authorial winks give a hint of what it is like to be in the presence of this master of the told tale"--Publisher's Weekly.
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